Smoking Pork Shoulder, TIMES FOUR

Recently, while spending time with Family for Christmas we decided to smoke some of our heritage pork. The meat used comes from a Black Mulefoot American Guinea Hog cross that we raised at Chesnut Acres Farm. We had four cuts of meat, one whole Boston butt, two half Boston butts, and one picnic roast.  So of course, being the experimenters we are, we tried four different recipes:

1. Bib Bob Gibson’s Recipe listed on BBQ Junkies website.

2. Bob’s Pulled Pork on a Smoker Recipe

3. Sugar Free Chic’s Smoked Pork Butt Recipe

4. The new, experimental Chestnut Acres Farm Recipe (provided later in the post)

These provide a good spread of options. One is sugar free with only a rub, one used a brine (12 hours) followed by rub, two used an injector to apply the marinade followed immediately by a rub.

Here’s a video showing the different cuts:

Now the application of rubs, brines and marinades.  I picked up a meat injector at the grocery store, the only way it was sold was as part of a kit that included the marinade.  It was a bit flimsy, if you look closely in the video you can see it flexing.  I’m going to put one of these injectors on my wish list. This injector looks sturdy and has two different options for injectors.  Here’s the video of the three recipes:

And the video of our experimental recipe:

Here’s our recipe, 

Injection Marinade:

1 cup Apple Cider

1 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 cup Honey

Rub (applied with Dijon Stoneground Mustard):

1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

1/3 cup Paprika

1 Tbsp. Chili Powder

1 Tbsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Oregano

1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp. Black Pepper

1/2 tsp. Ginger Powder

1/3 cup Sea Salt

2 Tbsp. Onion Powder
After the brines, marinades, and rubs were applied we put the meat in the fridge until the next morning (about 10-12 hrs). Then, we started smoking early the next morning.  We used apple wood chips, a pan of apple cider and apple juice, and targeted a temperature of 230 deg F.  Here’s Matt getting things kicked off

A few hours into the 11 hour smoke.

The results:

The finished product, resting.

So, Amy selected The Big Bob Gibson recipe.  Matt picked the Experimental recipe.  What did the family choose?  The winner is “Experimental”, 4 out of 6 adults chose this recipe, one chose the Sugar Free Chic recipe and one chose Big Bob Gibson.  

One tester said they thought the experimental it tasted like it already had sauce on it. We thought about that and the Experimental recipe has both honey and vinegar (balsamic vinegar) injected in it and vinegar and sugar are the major ingredients in BBQ sauce. So our recipe is a winner for no sauce as well.

Funny story, we let the kids (4 kids, between ages 3 and 5) have a separate vote.  All voted for Sugar Free Chic. The oldest chose this one and they all followed.  He stated later during dinner that he wanted more of the sugar one.  Apparently “sugar free” was interpreted as “free sugar”.  

Since the experimental version was so popular, we’re going to have to rename it.  Any suggestions?

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